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Drought to cut German grain yield
Reuters
BERLIN ,Germany's grain harvest will be 10 to 15 percent below already depressed year-ago levels because of an ongoing drought, threatening the existence of many German farms, the German DBV farmers association said on Wednesday.
"Many farmers in Germany and Europe will remember this year as an annus horribilis," DBV Deputy General-Secretary Adalbert Kienle told a news conference.
The DBV estimates Germany's 2003 grain harvest will be well below last year's total of about 43.4 million tonnes, itself depressed by floods and rain from 2001's 49.7 million tonnes.
The winter barley crop was down around 20 percent from last year's 8.3 million tonnes, while the rapeseed and rye harvests were particularly hit in the east, the DBV said in its second report on the annual harvest.
However, the association presented a mixed picture for wheat, with reduced yields but a good quality crop suitable for bread production, particularly in western states, such as Hesse where some wheat contained 18 percent protein.
"It is questionable whether the quality gains will adequately compensate the reductions in yields," Kienle said, adding that in parts of the eastern state of Saxony and the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg yields looked set to be down 50 percent.
The DBV expects to release a provisional close of harvest balance in two weeks with its third harvest report.
In the meantime, it is urging the federal and state governments urgently to come to the aid of threatened farms.
Kienle cited the government's agriculture report, saying the income of Germany's agriculture sector had declined by six percent and by 15 to 20 percent in the past two financial years to the end of June.
He said farmers, already hit by the drought, were further threatened by government plans to increase tax on agricultural diesel and to cut a subsidy for agricultural accident insurance.
MGR Archive 1.8.2003
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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